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About Mr. Walt


Author Walt Hackman is a retired computer executive, art gallery owner, philanthropist, Navy serviceman, father, husband and world traveler.

Walt joined the Navy in 1954 where his attachment to the ocean began. The next four years were filled with electrical and electronics training and an international tour aboard the U.S.S. Kermit Roosevelt ARG-16. While stationed aboard the Kermit Roosevelt, Walt traveled extensively throughout South East Asia and developed an ardent and abiding interest in Asian and Pacific Rim culture.

After his discharge, Walt attended Glendale College, studying electronics, and then went to work for Singer - Librascope, a subsidiary of The Singer Company. The company primarily developed and manufactured computer systems for the U.S. Navy.

Walt’s started as an Incoming Electrical Inspector and worked his way up to Field Engineer. In the early 1960s, he was sent to Mare Island Naval Shipyard where he worked on the latest computer system aboard nuclear submarines.

In 1962, Walt married Diane Magrina and they moved to Hawaii where Walt was transferred for work, continuing his travels throughout the Pacific. His daughter Lynn and son Walt Jr. were both born in Oahu. The Hackman’s eventually returned to Glendale, CA and in his early 40’s, Walt pursued his Bachelors and Master’s Degree at Pepperdine University, graduating with a BSAS with honors and his MBA. For a while Walt was a partner in a small computer company that specialized in third party maintenance (before the Geek Squad).

In 1980, Walt and Diane purchased a local art gallery and custom frame shop. By the mid 80’s they had successfully expanded into an additional operation in Old Town Pasadena. Per chance, it was at the Pasadena art gallery that Walt met Don, a modern-day China trader, and his Chinese wife, Mei. They became friends, not realizing at the time that they would later share a life changing adventure as they traveled back and forth to China together. In 1989, life as they knew it dramatically changed forever when the Hackman’s son was tragically killed.  The Hackman’s marriage fell apart, and by 1992, they had sold their businesses and home, and both were set adrift in sorrow and the uncertainty of new beginnings. It was then, in his early 50’s, that Walt Hackman decided to pursue his dream of living on a boat. Not just any boat as it would turn out. Thus began his adventure of building a boat, rebuilding a life, and discovering China.

The Mei Wen Ti would become Walt’s phoenix rising, and the happy beginning of a life filled with adventure, discovery and love. Walt met Virginia Harmening who had a boat right next to the Mei Wen Ti in Ventura Harbor, and they got married in 1997.

A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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